Establishing a mission statement is only the beginning. It seems like most organizations have them, even put them on a plaque but no one remembers what they say. That’s why ‘experts’ say another step must be taken: creating a vision statement.
Laurie Beth Jones says, “While a mission statement is centered around the process of what you need to be doing, a vision statement is the end result of what you will have done. It is a picture of how the landscape will look after you’ve been through it. It is your ideal.” (The Path, pg 71)
So I took that step…not just because it was assigned but to get a better handle on what I want to be when I grow up.
I write daily, walk with others weekly, and speak to groups monthly addressing the absolute necessity of living an incarnational lifestyle. My books, articles, and blog paint clear pictures of the Kingdom and tell stories of transformation. My weekly pilgrimages with people incorporate spiritual direction and ministry coaching. Three to four times a year I guide backpacking trips. These experiences are physically challenging but also create space for participants to reflect upon what God seems to be saying to them and process that in community. I spend one weekend a month at a pastors’ gathering, denominational event, or on a college campus relaying the urgency and thrill of relational ministry.
As a result, a generation of leaders have been given tools and practices to help them live healthy and authentic lives. Pastors from a variety of traditions are now free to shepherd as the unique creation God intended them to be, rather than grinding it out as the manager of a religious franchise. Ultimately communities all over our country have been changed because they have truly encountered Jesus.
Some maybe thinking, “What’s all the fuss?”
…I thought you were a pastor, isn’t your job to preach, pray, and visit little old ladies?
…I thought you owned a coffee shop, don’t you just hang out, make lattes, and tell stories?
…I thought you were a grad student, aren’t you pursuing a degree that provides you a career when you’re finished?
The answer to all of those is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. They are roles I have and things I’m doing, but the vision statement is the beginning of fleshing out who I am, what I’m created to be, and how I’ve been wired to contribute to the Kingdom and the world. I have to admit, it’s a little intimidating to put it out there. I loathe self promotion yet here I am saying, “I think I’ve discovered my purpose. I think I can help you, your ministry, your pastor, your church, your community.”
Hopefully you’re still reading because here is the good news: God has created you to make a difference too. Don’t settle for a role. Don’t settle for a job. He has a dream for you. He has gifted you. He has a place for you to make a unique contribution. And as it comes into focus, tell people about it.